Kathryn's Peace Corps Adventure

The opinions expressed and experiences described in this blog are mine personally. Any musings that you read here are not affiliated or endorsed by Peace Corps or U.S. government. Or Starbucks. And I'm not making any money from any of this, so don't send a lawsuit my way. Got it?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

things to do as a PCV

1. Take your map of Honduras, mark where all your friends are living and figure out just how far you really are from them. (La Esperanza is about 60 miles and it took me 10 hours to get there. Las Vegas is 120 miles, so according to Honduran standards Crystal and Simon, I´ll see you in about 27 hours.)
2. Read the only Newsweek that you brought with you-every article, every ad as slow as possible to soak up that sweet, sweet English.
3. Read the newspaper from 10 days ago because you have to practice that Spanish somehow.
4. Look at the ads in the newspaper and think "5,400 lps. isn´t THAT bad for a washing machine-because in the end you´d save because your clothes won´t have pila holes in them".
5. Then get sad because you realize that your house is still functioning as the health center which means that you probably won´t have your own place for a really long time.
6. Make your bed because that´s just so important.
7. Make a clothesline in your room out of unwaxed floss that PC gave you because you hate unwaxed floss and are really happy that you brought 5 packs of waxed floss now.
8. Make a list of how you can improve your current living situation-paint the walls, add shelves, scrub out dead scorpion stain...
9. Sweep floor because that´s the only thing you CAN do to improve the situation.
10. Straighten hair.
11. Charge iPod.
12. Floss teeth.
13. Bring in clothes from outside because it´s beginning to rain and put them on your homemade clothesline.
14. Hide behind pila when you see your neighbor-who´s a total fresa (show off/stuck up) in his yard and you don´t want to hear about his father´s car for the 6th time.
15. Watch movie about a talking zebra that thinks it´s a racehorse with the kids in your family (hey, that´s youth development)
16. Look in your luggage, which you have yet to unpack, and act like it´s Christmas when you find clothes that you´ve forgotten about.
17. Try not to think about going to Santa Rosa tomorrow, you want to limit that to only once per week as your personal escape.
18. Read manuals given to you by PC only to realize, "I am not this bored yet."
19. Go to the internet cafe-where you are on a first name basis with the coordinator-and write to everyone a silly list about your daily life in aldeaville.

¡Que barbaridad!

That´s the phrase that sums up Christmas Eve (La Nochebuena) for me. Ready?

The Good
I was sitting in my room with my door open because I didn´t just want to go out and sit in the living room and look like an out of place gringa—but my host sister´s friends saw me there and said, “Come dance with us! We´ll teach you punta!” (Of course I tried, looked like an uncoordinated American and a 10 year old boy totally showed me up. He was REALLY good.) And they insisted that I keep dancing—punta, merengue, reggaeton, and salsa! (finally!) It was pretty good—I danced with my family, which PC would refer to as “good community entry”. I was having a really good time and I thought, “Finally, I don´t feel like such an outsider”.

The Bad
Until a group of 10 guys came into the party. Suddenly everyone of them “has” to dance with me—some resorting to pathetic tatics, “I´ll give you candy.” (Yeah buddy, that´s going to convince me to dance with you!) After one song there would be a group of guys grabbing my hands or my waist trying to be the next one to dance with me. And whoever I dance with ending up showing me off to his friends like a damn trophy. But I tried my best to shrug it off. I start dancing with this one guy “Elvin” who asked me, “How old are you?” 24. “How old are you?”, I ask. 16.

Stop right there.
Why do you have a full beard?
Why do you smell like alcohol?
No. I am not Mary Kay Laterno (sp?). This ends now.

The dancing stopped right there. It would be one thing if he was dancing with me for fun, like when I danced with that 10 year old, but the fact that he was trying to get fresh with me is a whole other thing.

“I think I´m going to vomit. Too much dancing.”, I tell him.

I go into the kitchen and my host grandmother gives me coffee and sweet bread. Thank goodness…this buys me at least 15 minutes.

The Ugly
My family made the party end at 11 pm and I thought that people had cleared out, so I sat down on the couch to talk to my host aunt and then someone sits next to me, this guy named Ever. And it begins:
-Do you have a boyfriend?
-Why not?
-Don´t you want a boyfriend?
-Are you looking for a Honduran boyfriend?
-Do you like me?
-How old are you? (I ask him first, he says 20. I tell him that I´m about to turn 25. He then changes his mind and says that he´s 23.)
-Are you Mexican? (every time!)
-Do you like beer? (huh?)
-You need a Honduran boyfriend.
-You´re pretty.
-I think I love you. (Really, if I wanted this, I could have stayed in Chicago, walked one block north to Lawrence Ave. and gotten the same thing!)
I try to be as polite as possible considering he lives in San Ramon and I´ll probably see him again and I shouldn´t be burning any bridges just yet (give me at least 3 months before that starts...) But he doesn´t get the point. The circle of questions begins again. At this point, I´m just crabby so I get up and say, "It was nice meeting you. I´m going to bed." and went to my room to hide (real adult, right?). Finally he left. To be continued...?

The Hilarious
I was dancing with this one guy and he was absolutely plastered. During this reggaeton song "La Cuarentona", he kept pointing to the ceiling and singing to the celing. My 12 year old host brother, Luis, looks at me, wrinkles his nose and does the hand gesture for "he´s been drinking". Then ceiling guy tries to grab my hand, grabs the Christmas tree instead and falls into the wall. He gets up, looks at me and says, "Shhhh. Don´t tell anyone."

Well I don´t have to tell anyone Prince Charming, everyone just saw you make an idiot out of yourself.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

last Chrismas, I gave you my heart...

Christmas is celebrated on the 24th in Honduras, so I don´t think I´ll have another chance to blog until then since the internet cafe will be closed for a couple of days. I will spend my Christmas here in San Ramon, watching "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation" for the 6th time with my family (they really love that movie!) and eating nacatamales and avoiding mondongo soup at all costs.

But I am thinking about Chicago and everyone there hoping that they´re drinking a really good hot chocolate or hot cider, spending time with their friends/family, and watching crazy people do last minute shopping and end up buy a Chia Pet as a pity gift.

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

sassy molassy

La Esperanza was really fun and I´m really glad that I went out but coming home was a nightmare. I took 3 buses: La Esperanza-San Pedro Sula, San Pedro-Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa-San Ramon. I left La Esperanza at 4 am. I got to San Ramon at 3:30 pm. The last 2 buses were filled with people. Each seat had 3 people and the aisle was packed too. On the last bus, someone had purchased fresh cheese and the "water" was dripping all over me (because she didn´t want to carry it and put it overhead). I was tired, crabby, and overly cynical or "sassy molassy", as another volunteer Nick likes to call me. It´s just part of the PC experience I suppose and I´ll be an expert in bus travel in no time, right? And after a long shower I felt much better.

Back in site has been alright. I spent today walking up the mountain to see the other houses in my town and to make my own community map. When I passed the centro de salud, my future home, I ran past because I didn´t want to talk to the workers today. It was slow there and they may have wanted me to start talking to them about charlas in the future. I just didn´t feel like doing that today (or ever) so I ran. Great start to PC service, right? I just think of it more as a typical Kathryn move.

Other than that, I have watched the movie "Mortal Kombat:Annhilation" 4 times since Thursday. My family really loves that movie. There are no subtitles in Spanish so I have been asked, "What does Mortal Kombat mean?"

Still trying to get a good translation on that....

Sunday, December 18, 2005

...better now

By absolute chance I left the internet cafe after I blogged and Melissa was sitting out in front of it waiting for our friend Blair who was on the bus coming in. I was super relieved to see her because I was kind of freaking out about what I was doing, plus I had gotten up at 530 yesterday and taken a bus and 3 jalons to get to her site.

Anyway, her birthday was good. We ate at a good restaurant and I had fajitas which were fantastic. (But for some strange reason the waitress didn't serve tortillas with the food. Every meal I'm served at least 5 tortillas but with fajitas? No dice.) Her place is amazing. It makes me never want to go back to my site.

I'm in Siguat now and will go back to my site tomorrow afternoon trying to enjoy my last moments of sweet, sweet, English for the next few weeks.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


It´s my friend Melissa´s birthday and I came down to La Esperanza to celebrate with her. Of course, being the dumbass that I can be, I forgot to ask where she lives assuming I could just find it or call her. Neither has worked yet. I am stuck in La Esperanza, I can´t find an ATM, and there are no busses out of here until tomorrow. I can´t believe what an idiot I am! To be continued....

This is idiot adventure number 27 of many to come!

Friday, December 16, 2005

bashó...banana tree

I have been reading a lot this week because most of my counterparts have left for the holiday season and won´t return until later in January, which is fine by me. I´d rather celebrate my 25th birthday reading rather than working. In fact I´d love to spend the next 2 years reading rather than working.

I did however get the opportunity to live like a local the past few days. (Other than living in my cell, I mean). I have been going out to the farms to pick bananas and coffee beans. One of my neighbors asked if I wanted to see the farm so after a short hike we got to her private farm. I got to crawl under chicken wire without scratching myself (can that go on the resumé?), chop down plants with a machete (can´t wait to buy one of those), pick coffee beans (Starbucks anyone?), and manage to yet again, sprain my ankle!

For those of you that don´t know me, I am notorious for spraining my ankle. It is just a way of life for me. About every 4 years of my life, I manage to sprain my ankle in some crazy accident.

Foolishly, I tried to balance myself of a branch of a banana plant, it broke and I fell, making a complete idiot out of myself. On top of that, there was a piece of chicken wire under the branch (of all places), and I got stuck on it for a good 5 minutes. I must have really looked like a city girl gringa at that moment. But it´s all good. My ankle is just fine now and I´ll be back to picking coffee beans for Starbucks in no time.

how snickers has saved my life

A few weeks ago when I was in Siguatepeque, I received a massive box of goodies from my dear friend Jon, which included 9 Snickers bars...

Snickers here is the most delicious thing on the planet. I have no idea why because I didn´t eat them too often in the U.S., but since I got here, Snickers is like a gift from the gods. Well, a 13 lempira gift from the gods anyway.

2 days ago I was served mondongo soup (translation: intestine soup that smells like feet) and to be polite, I tried my best to eat some. The moment I bit into a piece of intestine, which I thought was potato, I almost lost it. I almost threw up at the table. I shoved a tortilla into my mouth and fought back the tears that were forming at my eyes. I´m sure I looked pretty ridiculous. Lucky for me, I am usually served alone so I took the rest of my soup and poured it back into the pot, washed my bowl, ran to my room and ate one of the Snickers to erase the horrible memory of the soup. (By the way, it is perfectly normal to put back food to the main bowl here. Yes, in the U.S., that´s disgusting, but in San Ramon, it is a way of life.)

So this one goes out to you J, thanks for saving my life yet again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


So here´s the new address for the next 2 years:

Kathryn Fahey
Apartado Postal 1822
Santa Rosa de Copan, Copan

I paid 500 lempiras for this PO Box so it better be worthwhile!

Well, don´t just sit there...start writing!!!


It's official. For some insane reason the U.S. government thinks that I am ready to be a PCV. I swore in on the 8th and they put us up in this SWEET hotel in Tegus (Teguc? Teguz? Tegu?) where we "played American"-ate pizza hut (Doble Hut Cheese!), ordered Banana Splits, took hot showers with actual water pressure, then left for the middle of nowhere, Honduras.
The afterparty was really good. It was held in the room that my friend Melissa shared with me and we had an awesome view of the Jesus statue and the Coca-Cola sign. Here's what we found the next morning:
-a pair of shoes
-an umbrella
-2 digital cameras
-an iPod
-a Nalgene bottle
-a passport (!)
-a sweater
All in all, that means a good party. My Friday was spent running around town and waiting. I took 9 taxis, 1 rapidito (a mini van) and a jalon (riding in the back of a pickup truck) all around town. The waiting was not fun. I spent over 2 hours in the hotel lobby for no reason that I could actually explain.
I went to Gracias, Lempira on Saturday with my friends Emily and Connie and we watched over 6 hours of Sex and the City, which was absolutely excellent and made me miss the U.S. I actually thought to myself while watching, it, "Wow, that's so weird that Carrie doesn't have to use bottled water to brush her teeth." That's when I knew that I had been here for quite some time.

And now I'm here in site (well, actually I'm in Santa Rosa right now) but I am feeling better than my last entry. My house isn't finished yet and if they're running on "Honduran time", my house should be ready by next July or so. That's alright though. I'm pretty happy with my cell for the time being. I have spent the past 2 days kind of just hiding in my room but soon I'll have to introduce myself to everyone in the town and actually start working. (What? I thought I was supposed to play for 2 years! Kidding! I'm kidding.)

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I´ve got 99 problems being a b* ain´t one....

To start things off, site announcements were on Tuesday and everyone guessed their sites correctly so my site is San Ramon, Talgua, Lempira 25 km Southeast of Santa Rosa de Copan. Site announcements were fun because we were yelling, being crazy, and we had CAKE! It was definitely the best part for me. My site was the first one announced so everyone was especially crazy. Our Project Manager tried to make it like a guessing game and she took quotes directly from our resumes or aspiration statements. I wrote something like, "I successfully grew a veggie garden!" and it was sooooo embarassing. I know there were a bunch of other quotes up there too but I don´t remember them because I was super embarassed. Everyone was laughing but everyone was also filled with anxiety and nerves as they were waiting for their sites too. The amusing part was everyone´s personal quotes because now that you know the person, you don´t imagine them saying, "I am here to make a difference in the community one person at a time, etc." But I wrote the same kind of things on my personal statement too and it´s just one of those things you do to get into PC in the first place.

Enough about that though. I am on my site visit right now. First of all, it takes FOREVER to get here from Teguc. I took a "direct" bus to Santa Rosa de Copan but we were in San Pedro Sula for almost an hour because of the traffic. (I would just like to say that I wish San Pedro Sula wasn´t off limits because it is a beautiful city with street lamps, paved roads with lanes, palm trees and streets that actually have a destination...not like Teguc.) Anyway the bus ride took about 9 hours and I had to stay overnight in Santa Rosa de Copan because there are only 4 busses to my town and the last one leaves at 2 pm. I stayed in a "hotel" that had hair in the sink when I first got in and a toilet with no seat. But it was safe so I shouldn´t complain. I got to San Ramon yesterday at 1 pm.

I am staying with a family for the first month or two while I´m here and then supposedly I am moving to the former Centro de Salud here. We´ll see. My family here is nice but I just want to live on my own already and I want my own space. My room here is small, has a bed and a space to put my things. But there are no windows and no lock on the door. I don´t want to sound like I´m complaining. To think of my room, think of "Peace Corps" and what comes to mind is probably what my room looks like. If I do not have my own place here by February....well, like I said, we´ll see.

My other problem here is that I have only met one of my counterparts and she will not be my counterpart once the government officially changes over. I have met the son of my counterpart, who has told me that my other counterparts will not want me to work with them. I am here to teach English--or so he´s been telling everyone that I´ve met so far. It kind of sucks because:
1. My Spanish is not strong enough to say otherwise without offending everyone.
2. I don´t want to start off on the wrong foot with the community by saying no, I am here to do other things too, because he may be right.
3. If I had my own place or met my counterparts, perhaps the term "Early Termination" wouldn´t have crossed my mind 6 times already.

Like I said, we´ll see what happens. I know I just need to give it time and I just hope that these problems will be nothing in a few months.

I would like to say that San Ramon is pretty, mountaneous, covered in pine trees and coffee plants and is not too hot.

Only time will tell....